O’Malley’s Day at the Vet

Hey everyone. As some of you already know from Facebook & twitter, I had to take O’Malley to the vet today. See, two days ago he threw up clear liquid, probably water. There were no problems yesterday but when I went in to feed him this morning, there was another large puddle of clear liquid. I cleaned it up and since he still acted hungry, I fed him. He only ate half of it and then threw up his partially digested food maybe 20 minutes later. At that point I called the vet and got him an appointment for tomorrow morning, with her saying if he got worse that they’d fit him in today. Well 5 minutes later he threw up again so I called and she told me to bring him in. All this time I was trying to keep Nikki up to speed via IM while she was at work and was crying because, like you, I hate when my kids are sick. O’Malley being a foster makes no difference. He is our kid until he finds his forever home! So off I go to the vet, after asking for some pawcircle and healing thoughts from our friends and followers.

At the Vet

After a lot of questions, Dr. Jill, our amazing vet, decided to run some bloodwork on him. With cats vomiting like this, it’s always very important to check for signs of pancreatitis. This is a very dangerous inflammation of the pancreas that our youngest cat, Satsuki, had after eating some crappy cat food as a treat. She had to stay overnight on fluids and all sorts of medications and it’s very scary. Come to think of it, I should make a Pet Parent Files about it. Anyway, that was our first concern. Vomiting can also dehydrate a cat very quickly so he was given a bubble of subcutaneous fluids to help rehydrate him. O’Malley’s bloodwork came back all normal. Like nothing out of the ordinary which is good. Dr. Jill ran some extra set of tests to check for all the levels that could suggest organ issues. So it looks like his pancreas, liver, kidneys, fluids, all that is good. Then they took him for X-rays to see if he had an obstruction, such as some string or a toy or anything he might have ingested. We were pretty sure this wasn’t it but you can never tell. Even when you think you’re keeping a good eye on cats, they can still be sneaky. They took two X-rays and Dr. Jill didn’t see anything obvious on them.

The Diagnosis

So it doesn’t look like he has pancreatitis and it doesn’t look like he has an obstruction. This is good news. For now his diagnosis is gastritis. So, the lining of his stomach is inflamed. Of course, this doesn’t mean we know the cause. That’s the problem with symptoms – they can mean so many different things. Anyway, we’re assuming something has upset his stomach but not caused pancreatitis. So Dr. Jill gave him 3 shots. One was an anti-nausea injection so that will hopefully make him feel better. The second was an antacid to calm his stomach if anything is going on in there. And the third was an anti-inflammatory injection. I believe it was a steroid injection, just a small dose. This is in case there is some inflammation going on in his pancreas. Just in case it’s still there and not showing up in the bloodwork. That’s how serious you have to take pancreatitis. But other than that, she sent him home with a bland, prescription diet food to give him for a few days to help calm whatever may have been upsetting his stomach. We just have to feed him a little tonight and watch him for vomiting. If he does, we take him back in the morning for, I assume, more tests and more medication. If not, then we keep watching him and hope everything returns to normal.

So, yes. Please keep him in your thoughts! I know he’s felt all the love pouring in for him already! As always we’d like to thank the wonderful Dr. Jill and the nice people at Animal Care Clinic in Round Rock for caring for our kids and helping us with the cost of fosters when they can!

How You Can Help!

The total bill for all of this came to $314 (you can see a copy of the bill here). Normally Nikki and I try to raise the money in advance since we learned the hard way you can’t always make it back up. In an emergency, though, you just can’t wait. We then just try to pay for it out of our own pockets and raise money. This time we didn’t have enough, both of our bank accounts combined, so we applied for Care Credit and put it on that. We’d like to be able to pay it off before we accrue interest (26%, Yikes!). So yes, it would be wonderful if y’all could help us raise the money for this. O’Malley will also need his routine vaccinations when he’s feeling better. Thank you for your continued support. Know that it makes a difference in all of their lives! Toni & the kittens (Maggie Mae & Mel) have loving homes because you helped them out until they found their forever families. We really appreciate it!

As you can see, the ChipIn amount is for $325. This is because his clinic exam and vaccinations from Animal Trustees of Austin is $34. We only added $10 to the amount though because Jenn McKibbin donated the first $25 to O’Malley’s vet care. The direct link to the ChipIn is here. Thank you again, from us and O’Malley.

O’Malley’s Story

You can check out all of our foster O’Malley’s story here (or start here for the first chapter). He’s had a rough road, but full of love and support. And he’s looking for a forever home. Check out his video below.

Thank you!

Pet ‘Net 2011: Adopting Special Needs Cats

Hey guys! We are excited to be participating in the 2011 Pet ‘Net event which takes place November 16th! This year’s event revisits the topic of the first Pet ‘Net held 4 years ago: pet adoption. How perfect is that for ILRA? Before we get on with our topic, however, I’d like to talk a little more about Pet Net. It is put on by the wonderful people at Petside and this year they are determined to use it to make a difference in the lives of animals. To add some fun for the bloggers and encourage great articles, there will be a voting component this year where the blog chosen as the best will win a $500 donation to the shelter of their choice! How great is that? And Petside has partnered with the Iams Bags 4 Bowls Initiative so everyone can get involved with social media to help feed animals in need! There are two components to this: Facebook and twitter.

Twitter Campaign

On twitter, each tweet with Pet ‘Net hash tag (#IHeartShelterPets) and @Iams will yield 25 meals to local shelters. This includes original tweets as well as RTs! Be sure to have BOTH in your tweet!

Facebook Campaign

On Facebook, every personal adoption story and photo posted onto Petside’s wall will show your support for your local shelters and give you the chance to be featured on Petfinder.com as a Happy Tail story!. Every comment or “like” on each post will yield an ADDITIONAL donation of one bowl of food to local shelters and each “like” of the entire page results in a donation of 25 bowls!! So be sure to not only post your story but encourage all your friends to like all the posts. This has the potential to be HUGE!

Adopting Special Needs Cats

Now onto our topic, and one that is near and dear to our hearts: Adopting Special Needs Cats! As many of you know, we are very personally involved in rescuing animals. Over the last few years, we have been involved in Trap-Neuter-Return, helped maintain feral colonies, fostered dogs, saved a cat who had been hit and left to die on the side of the road, caught and cared for cats from the gutter outside our home, raised 2 kittens from a feral mom and successfully moved a feral cat from one location to another. We live and breathe rescue. You would think all of that would be the hard part but it’s not. To us, the hardest part is adopting out those animals, most specifically, the cats. Dogs are easy but as any shelter or rescue will tell you, cats are just hard to adopt out. And I don’t know the reason. Maybe there are less cat people than dog people out there. But more specifically for us, we tend to end up with what could be considered “special needs” kitties. And I would like to take away some of the stigma from them so that wonderful cats like ours can find their loving forever homes faster.

FIV+ Cats

So what are special needs cats? They could have a variety of issues. Some are certainly harder to care for than others but some problems that our fosters have don’t really affect them at all and yet it still seems to scare people off. For instance, we have a habit of being found by cats that are FIV+. FIV, like HIV, means that the cat has a potentially lowered immune system. Like HIV, this status carries a very scary connotation. But if people would do a bit of research, they would quickly find that this is not something that should deter you from adopting a cat. Believe me, when we had our first foster diagnosed with it, we were worried. Would she be sick all the time? Would she make our own cats sick? One vet, going on old, now discounted thinking, even told us that we should put our FIV cats down. Then we came across an article from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary that set us at ease. Cats with FIV can live perfectly normal lives. There are cats that are 20 years old with it! While it can be spread to other cats, it is only through deep puncture wounds or sexual contact. That means that there are people out there that have both FIV positive and negative cats living together with no problems. If the cats are properly socialized, they can love and cuddle with one another and share food bowls and litter boxes as much as they want and the negative cat will be perfectly safe! And you know what? They aren’t going to be sick all the time!

Our first FIV+ foster, Storm, was never sick the entire year we had her and since her adoption, has continued to thrive without consequence. O’Malley, the cat that we rescued from the side of the road, was also diagnosed with FIV. Despite that, he recovered from his wounds and underwent major surgery with no ill effects from his FIV status! FIV is not something to run and hide from. It’s merely something to be aware of. What it really comes down to is that you will need to be certain that your FIV+ cat is kept up to date on all their vaccinations, that you lower their risk of exposure by making them indoor-only cats and that if they do become sick, you take them to the vet immediately because they may not be able to fight off their illness as easily as a negative cat. Now that’s not so daunting anymore, is it?

Urinary Blockages or Crystals

Another special need that we have run across in our cat family is cats with a history of urinary blockage or crystals in the urine. We rescued Jacob from the gutter outside our house. He was perfectly healthy until one day we found him straining to urinate. After a few hours of him crying, we knew he had to be rushed to the vet right away. Because a blockage can kill a cat in mere hours, he had to have a catheter put in immediately, had to have an IV drip and be put on antibiotics. Granted, the emergency vet cost was enormous and we still have not recovered from it. BUT, just because a cat has had a blockage in the past is NOT a reason to skip over them when looking to adopt a cat. For one, there is no way of telling which cats will develop blockages. Like I said, Jacob was perfect until his happened. So avoiding one with a known history of a blockage is no guarantee that you won’t have to deal with one. Knowing a cat has had it can once again, just make you a more informed owner. To keep Jacob from developing one again, he is on a special diet food. There are both dry and canned versions and a few different brands that are specially formulated for cats with this issue. They are of the right acidity that they keep new crystals from forming. While a special diet might seem daunting, we feed Jacob the more expensive wet food every day and it still costs less than $25 a month. And Jacob hasn’t had a single problem since being on his prescription diet. Now that’s not so daunting, is it?

“Feral” Kittens

One last special case I’d like to discuss is kittens from feral mothers. While this isn’t something you might consider a special need, it seems to be something that people are reluctant to take on. Here’s the thing – there is a definite difference between stray and feral cats. Feral cats are wild and yes, pretty much un-tameable. You can keep a feral cat for years and it may never calm down and come to like you. Feral cats are happiest left outside in managed colonies. When we caught Matilda, we were hoping that she would tame. But she was miserable inside so eventually we released her at our new place (carefully following relocation procedures so she would recognize this as her new home). Her two kittens, Mel and Maggie Mae, are a different story. Granted, we didn’t catch them until they were already close to 8 weeks old. That was definitely pushing the cusp – it is best to get the kittens as young as possible so they don’t learn to be afraid of humans from their mom. Don’t get me wrong, it has been a struggle. It has taken us months of work to get the kittens to where they are now. But it has been completely worth it! Maggie Mae is such a little cuddle bug who loves to sit in your lap and just purr away. Mel, while a wild child, has also taken to liking his chin scratched and ears rubbed. They are absolutely gorgeous cats that anyone would be lucky to have in their family. So should a possible few months of patience stop you from adopting a wonderful cat? I think we all know the answer to that question!

Other Special Needs

Now of course there are conditions that are more work than these examples. Diabetic cats would need shots every day. Cats with heart problems like our Merlin require pills every day. Cats with amputations or blindess or any other special need will, yes, need special attention. But I can tell you story after story of how people cope with these problems not only to the point of the animals surviving, but truly thriving. Animals with special needs rely on you to care for them more than those without them. But I can promise you that they know it and they are grateful. You can’t help but develop a special bond with an animal that you have to put a little bit of extra effort into. Don’t you think that extra closeness, that extra time spent together, will be more than worth it in the end? The next time you come across a special needs cat, I hope you will take the time to learn about their needs and find a special place for them in your heart and home.

Adopting & Donating

NOTE: For anyone living in or near Austin, TX, O’Malley, Mel and Maggie Mae are still available for adoption. They are all amazing cats and deserve to find their very own forever homes. You can learn more about O’Malley’s story in his video below. If you could possibly donate towards his care, that would be amazing as well and can be done at his ChipIn. We are able to do the physical rescue and rehabilition but without financial support, we won’t be able to help as many animals in need. Thank you!

O’Malley’s Story Is a Finalist in the 2011 Petties!

We’ve Been Nominated!

Hey everyone! Wonderful news! O’Malley’s courageous story has inspired so many people that it made it as a finalist for Best Blog Post in the 2011 Petties! Thank you so much to everyone who nominated us! I know how inspirational O’Malley has been to me and Nikki so I am so excited that this will bring even more awareness to him and he can inspire that many more people! O’Malley is a cat that never let anything keep him down. He’s overcome great obstacles with such grace and determination that he makes a great role model for everyone! The animal world, it seems, came together when we first told his story and I’m hoping they’ll come around us once again so we can spread his message even further! Please vote for us so that we can share O’Malley’s story far and wide! Also, if we win, we’ll get to donate $1000 to a shelter of our choice!

OMalley

Please Vote For Us!

Voting is done here: The Petties 2011

There are 8 categories this year and we’re up for a Pettie in Best Blog Post which is in the top right corner. Our name is, of course, I Love Rescue Animals.

This year people may vote more than once so we’re hoping that you will come back and support us every day until the close of the voting period, which is July 29th! I know it’s hard to keep up a campaign that long so any help you can give us in spreading the word would be very much appreciated! You can help us by telling your friends, family, dog park buddies, email lists, or any animal lover you happen to bump into on the street!

Share Your Support On Facebook and Twitter

We’d love your help sharing it on Facebook and twitter as well.

A sample Facebook post: “I just voted for I Love Rescue Animals to win Best Blog Post for the amazing story of O’Malley, a cat determined to survive! Hit by a car and left to die, he was rescued and overcame obstacles such as his FIV+ status, major surgery and even the dreaded aquatic therapy! Please vote for his story so it can be an inspiration to even more people! I plan on voting for them every day until July 29th and hope you’ll do the same! http://bit.ly/kXHVAn”

A sample tweet: “Just voted for I Love @RescueAnimals to win Best Blog Post for O’Malley’s survival story: http://bit.ly/kXHVAn Will you please do the same?

Please Vote For Our Friends Too!

If you’d like to vote in the other categories, please feel free to choose whoever you want and we strongly suggest you check out all the great blogs! We do have some recommendations, however, based on our own experiences with the people and the great work they do through their blogs. Our recommendations are as follows:

Best Overall Pet Blog: Any
Best Blog Post: I Love Rescue Animals – that’s us!
Best Dog Blog: Champion of My Heart
Best Designed Blog: Any
Best Cat Blog: The Tiniest Tiger or The Conscious Cat
Best Social Integration Blog: DogTipper! – they are all over Facebook and Twitter!
Best Cause Related Blog: Be the Change for Animals or Raising Ruby – both are AMAZING!
Funniest Blog or Blogger: Grouchy Puppy – one look at Cleo’s face and you know she’s hilarious!

Help O’Malley and You Could Win a Pet Portrait!

You are reading the sixth chapter of O’Malley’s story.
Read the First Chapter
Read the Second Chapter
Read the Third Chapter
Read the Fourth Chapter
Read the Fifth Chapter
To Be Continued…

Hey everyone! I hope you’ve all enjoyed the holiday season! We’ve been spreading the cheer around here, taking the pups to the dog park, feeding the ferals wet food for Christmas, etc. I can’t believe 2011 is just around the corner! We’re super excited to launch our 365 Days of Animal Advocacy on the first! I really hope we can make it really take off – it’s going to take a lot of work, organization, advertising and, of course, shirts! If you haven’t heard of it yet, please check out its page. Do you have a favorite animal rescue or organization? Let them know about it! Think your friends, family, or followers would find it a cool project? Spread the word! Together, we can make it happen!

As we head into next year we are also hoping that we can finally raise the rest of the money for O’Malley’s recovery. O’Malley is the miracle cat that I found on the side of the road, hit by a car and left to die, covered in ants. He had a broken pelvis & dislocated hip. He has undergone surgery to fix his hip that involved cutting the head off of his femur and has recovered amazingly. He even survived the dreaded water treadmill as he underwent physical therapy to help him rebuild his muscles. He has been neutered and received all of his vaccines. Altogether his cost came to about $700 and as you can tell by his ChipIn donation page, we’ve raised a little bit of the money to cover his vet bills. 16 wonderful people have stepped in so far to help us help this amazing cat and we are so grateful. We realize that money is tight for everyone. Trust us, it’s been difficult for us as well. On top of O’Malley’s bills, we also recently had another foster require an emergency vet visit and after care at our regular vet which resulted in just over $500 in bills. That’s $1200 spent on our fosters over only a couple of months. It’s been rough but they are all recovered and doing amazing and that’s what’s really important!

You Could Win A Pet Portrait!

We are so happy to announce we have another incentive for all of our O’Malley supporters! Adriana Willsie, a fantastic pet portrait artist, has come forward with a great idea to help O’Malley in her own way. Adriana is offering a chance to win a gorgeous 4″x4″ bite-size portrait, normally worth $40, to anyone who donates $10 or more towards this cause. Once we have raised enough to meet our goal, we’ll do a random drawing of eligible donors and announce the winner.

But wait! There’s more!

Adriana is taking her support one step further by offering a 50% off coupon towards one of her 6″x6″ pet portraits for anyone who donates $20 or more! That’s a savings of $75! The only stipulation is that you use your coupon by the end of 2011. We’re really hopeful that this will help us raise the rest of the donations. It’s a very worthy cause and now you could have the chance at receiving something in return. You know, besides the warm, fuzzy feelings. ^_^ This of course applies to anyone who donated before this post. Also, if you have donated previously but would like to donate more to reach one of these levels, all you have to do is donate the difference. We really appreciate that you donated even without incentives.

Thank you so much to all of you who are willing to help this boy gain a new life! We all appreciate it! I know times are tough, but if a lot of you can make a small donation, it can make a HUGE difference to us! Happy holidays and I hope 2011 is your best year yet!

O’Malley’s Chip-In

You are reading the fifth chapter of O’Malley’s story.
Read the First Chapter
Read the Second Chapter
Read the Third Chapter
Read the Fourth Chapter
Read the Sixth Chapter
To Be Continued…

Hey everyone! Again, life gets in the way. I have huge plans for ILRA in 2011. I just need the time to implement them all! I’m sure many of you can understand! Anyway, just wanted to give a huge thank you to everyone who has been helping with O’Malley. Thanks to 11 incredible people, we have raised $145 towards our goal of $700! As mentioned in the last post about O’Malley, we have a couple silly incentives. Unfortunately, one of the videos I wanted to upload when we reached our halfway mark has messed up audio. So we’ll substitute it with a video of me teasing the dogs at dinner time. No, trust me, it’s cute.

Also, O’Malley will be going in for his neuter, X-rays, & FVRCPL booster in the next week or two, so we’ll have some news on how his healing is coming along soon. I’m excited to see the difference! Anyway, if any of you can afford to donate anything towards this boy’s recovery, we would very much appreciate it! Even $5 helps! We’re also hopefully going to be able to start looking for a home for him soon. If any of you live in the Austin area and are interested in this amazing boy, please stay tuned! Don’t forget that we have our beautiful Storm as well, who would LOVE to have a home for Christmas! Please help her have her miracle – the poor baby has been with us for around 8 months! We love having her, but we all know that she would love even more having her very own forever home.

Donations for O’Malley

Any amount counts. If you have any issues with the ChipIn widget, you check out his official page here. (Also note that this is the second ChipIn we’ve had to set up for him since the first didn’t reach the goal and was closed. This one takes up where that one left off.)

Thank You To O’Malley’s Supporters!

These wonderful people have chipped in for O’Malley and we want to thank every one of them. You guys are part of his story and I know that he is full of gratitude to all of you. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Katherine L.
Andrew S.
Marjorie D.
Roxann R.
Bonnie T.
Lydia O.
Cheryl S.
Chelsea C.
Shelly D.
The Rio Grande Basin Bat Project
Jessie T.

And a special thank you to Dash Kitten and Whiskr for supporting our ChipIn and showcasing it on your blog. And thank you to all of you have continue to blog about O’Malley and share his story. The world is full of good people and every day I am reminded of this. Thank you all!

And don’t forget to check out how you can help O’Malley AND win an awesome custom pet portrait!